Veronica Mars premiered in 2004 only to be cancelled three seasons later. And yet, the high-school noir managed to accrue an impressive cult following for only having 64 episodes, resulting in a fan-funded movie in 2014, and an upcoming Season 4 on Hulu. Still, it's been a while since fans saw Kristen Bell in action as the titular detective. But, lucky for us, all three seasons of Veronica Mars are now available to stream on Hulu, and these are the before the show returns for Season 4. Veronica Mars episodes you need to watch Veronica Mars managed to balance a weekly mystery with murders, a love triangle, and witty, sharp dialogue, so you probably can't go wrong with any episode. That said, if you're planning a rewatch before Season 4 premieres on July 26, you might want to make sure to check out a few key episodes, especially if you don't have time to commit to streaming all 64 episodes. And that's why we've picked out the best and most essential Veronica Mars episodes to prepare you for what's coming.
If it's been a while since you've seen Veronica Mars do her thing onscreen, here are 21 episodes of
Veronica Mars that show why the series was so great.
"Pilot" (Season 1, Episode 1)
There's really no better place to start than the show's first episode. The pilot set up the murder mystery of Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried), started the friendship between Veronica and Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III), and showed the easy banter Veronica and her father, Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) have together, all crucial building blocks of the series.
"The Wrath of Con" (Season 1, Episode 4)
Not only did this episode feature Veronica foiling the plans of a few greedy college gamers, but it also revealed more about the relationships between Veronica, Lilly, Duncan (Teddy Dunn) and Logan (Jason Dohring), as told through flashbacks to the homecoming dance.
"Like A Virgin" (Season 1, Episode 8)
"Like A Virgin" introduced the audience to not one, but two new female allies for Veronica: Mac (Tina Majorino) and Meg (Alona Tal). It also dealt with one of the more awful aspects of high school: slut shaming. Not to mention, it added a whole new drama to the investigation into Lilly's death, when the man convicted of her murder, Abel Koontz, revealed that Veronica and her ex, Duncan, might be related, which, ew.
"An Echolls Family Christmas" (Season 1, Episode 10)
This honestly might be the best episode of the entire show. Veronica is at the top of her game figuring out who stole the money from a high-stakes poker game, and the banter between her, Logan, Duncan, Weevil, and the others is a treat ("Annoy, tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind"). The episode also featured some parent drama, and helped introduce Logan's parents, Aaron (Harry Hamlin) and Lynn Echolls (Lisa Rinna), to the world of the show.
"Silence of the Lamb" (Season 1, Episode 11)
Unfortunately, according to
TV Guide, Tina Majorino won't be in the revival, but at least fans both new and old can revisit some of Mac's best turns on the show with episodes like "Silence of the Lamb." In the episode, Mac enlisted Veronica to dig up things about her family history, only to learn a deep secret that changes everything. It's a sad moment, but it allows Mac to become a more three-dimensional character than simply Veronica's "hacker girl," and it set the foundation for her to become a fan-favorite.
"Clash of the Tritons" (Season 1, Episode 12)
Perhaps a high school having a secret society is a bit far-fetched. But watching Veronica sing "One Way or Another" in a karaoke bar as a veiled threat is nothing but fun. Meanwhile, Logan's family is falling apart with the possible death of his mother, hinting at future complications for him and his father.
"Mars vs. Mars" (Season 1, Episode 14)
Gossip Girl and Parks and Recreation will love this episode for the Leighton Meester and Adam Scott appearances. Beyond that, though, this episode is great for the tension between Keith and Veronica as they stand on opposing sides of an issue — whether or not Mr. Rooks (Scott), a beloved teacher, slept with Carrie Bishop (Meester). Sadly, Meester didn't reprise her role in the Veronica Mars movie, and the character didn't exactly get a happy ending.
"Ruskie Business" (Season 1, Episode 15)
This episode was fraught with romantic tension, and though the show hadn't yet reached the boiling point between Logan and Veronica, seeing the two of them start to move past their antagonistic relationship is what started the LoVe ship — even if it only happened because Logan was devastated over his mother's death.
"Betty and Veronica" (Season 1, Episode 16)
In this episode, Veronica headed to Neptune's rival high school to find out who stole their mascot, using the alias of Betty from Riverdale. "Betty and Veronica" also saw Veronica put some real effort into her friendship with Wallace. It's a welcome change, since they have one of the best dynamics on the show, and Wallace can sometimes be a little under-appreciated.
"Weapons of Class Destruction" (Season 1, Episode 18)
This episode was great overall, but it's on this list for one main reason: Logan and Veronica's first kiss. Seriously. Nothing else matters. It set the ball rolling for their on-again, off-again relationship, which would take center stage for the rest of the series.
"A Trip to the Dentist" (Season 1, Episode 21)
Veronica's sexual assault storyline is sadly just as timely in 2019 as it was in the mid-2000s, and while watching her uncover the truth of what happened to her at Shelly Pomroy's party in this episode is heartbreaking, it's also not sensationalized. "A Trip to the Dentist" also catalyzes some future plot lines: Duncan reacted poorly to Logan and Veronica's relationship, to say the least, and Veronica's discovery of cameras in Aaron's bedroom lead her to finally solve the case of Lilly's murder.
"Leave It to Beaver" (Season 1, Episode 22)
This might be one of the greatest season finales of a television show, ever. After Duncan and Veronica found tapes of Lilly and Aaron together and realize he was the one who murdered her, the tension reaches an all-time high. The reveal is a total shock (the first time you see it, anyway), and once the characters figure it out, you'll be on the edge of your seat until they get to safety.
"Normal Is the Watchword" (Season 2, Episode 1)
While Season 1 followed Lilly Kane's murder, Season 2 needed a new season-long arc, and found it in the mysterious bus crash that killed some Neptune High students and left Meg in a coma. "Normal Is the Watchword" not only set the stage for the season, but it also revealed what happened after the end of the Season 1 finale.
"Donut Run" (Season 2, Episode 11)
"Donut Run" marked Duncan's exit from the show, aside from a short cameo in the Season 2 finale. Fans had always had mixed feelings about the character, and even actor
Teddy Dunn hadn't been feeling it by the end, according to Yahoo. However, seeing him and Veronica have one last hurrah sneaking him out of the country — as well as publicly faking their breakup — is kind of sweet.
"Ain't No Magic Mountain High Enough" (Season 2, Episode 13)
This mystery of the week dealt with finding out who stole thousands of dollars meant for the senior class trip, all during the school's winter carnival. Meanwhile, Mac and Beaver (Kyle Gallner) got closer.
"Plan B" (Season 2, Episode 17)
Veronica and Weevil (Francis Capra) always made a great pair, even if they sometimes spent more time arguing than getting along. In this episode, Weevil enlisted Veronica's help to prove that a member of his gang, Thumper, killed his friend Felix. It only got darker from there.
"Look Who's Stalking" (Season 2, Episode 20)
There's a lot going on this episode, but Logan's "epic" LoVe speech to Veronica at anti-prom is definitely the highlight. After a season of them being apart and dating different people, seeing him tear up and attempting to get her back likely gave many hope that the two would reconcile. And then things only got more complicated from there.
"Not Pictured" (Season 2, Episode 22)
"Not Pictured" is another fantastic season finale, and the stakes are even higher this time around, as Veronica closes in on the person responsible for the deadly bus crash. This finale offers one of the most heartbreaking resolutions in the series, and ends on a cliffhanger guaranteed to make your jaw drop.
"Welcome Wagon" (Season 3, Episode 1)
Season 3 is probably the least favorite of most
Veronica Mars fans, since the characters are no longer in high school and the overarching mysteries don't have the same impact as those from the first two seasons. However, "Welcome Wagon" was the first episode that featured boy-next-door Piz (Chris Lowell), thus beginning the age-old "Team Piz" and "Team Logan" debate.
"Weevils Wobble But They Don't Go Down" (Season 3, Episode 19)
In this episode, Veronica had to prove Weevil's innocence after he is accused of selling fake student IDs. It's the last episode of the series to focus on Weevil, and it makes for a great final mystery of the week.
"The Bitch Is Back" (Season 3, Episode 20)
Admittedly, as a series finale, this episode left a lot of fans disappointed after it left many plot lines unresolved. In fact,
creator Rob Thomas left it ambiguous on purpose. In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Thomas said he found out the show was being canceled while writing the last few episodes, and wanted to "go down swinging." Veronica Mars had its ups and downs over the course of its three seasons, but it always managed to be funny, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. And now, thanks to Hulu, there's nothing stopping you from revisiting this series and remembering what made it so great.